Oy. So many orientation activities! Such a long week!
But I shouldn't complain, because the long and the short of it is that I'm completely in love with my department. Let's start with the fact that there are five of us--yes, FIVE--who are new in a department of approximately 20 ladder faculty. I don't know yet whether any of my fellow newbies will develop into personal friends, but I can already tell that they'll be awesome work friends; any people I'm already comfortable giving a hard time to, bitching with, and cussing in front of are winners in my book.
And as for the rest of the department--need I say more than that there is exactly one person over the age of 50, and probably only three or four people over the age of 40? (And believe it or not, we're on track to hire more people next year.) Youth isn't inherently a good thing, of course, but at a regional school like mine it means that there aren't generational divisions when it comes to expectations for scholarship or teaching: we've all been trained in pretty much the same way, and we have the same kinds of ambitions and the same understanding of the profession. But it's more than that: I've been setting up my office all week, and people I'd barely met on my interview are stopping by and striking up 20-minute conversations. The next thing you know, I'm doing some schtick and she's doing some schtick, and we're talking about taking our comedy routine on the road.
And, okay: I know that this is the honeymoon period, and that I'll probably find that there are some folks I can't even stand the sight of. . . but for now, all I can say is that I feel more comfortable with these people--more like they're my people--than I ever have with any group of academics.
In other happy news: I have a SECOND DATE tonight with that girl I never really knew at INRU who's just starting a TT gig at the local R1. We had lunch last week and I liked her and I guess she liked me. . . so now we're doing a movie and drinks. It's odd to be courting a potential friend in this totally date-y way (before she and I met for lunch, I wailed to GWB, "But I'm so nervous--I want her to like me! What if she doesn't like me?"), but when you're new in town, I guess that's the way it works. Fingers crossed, anyway.